BUS routes serving Cowdenbeath, Crossgates, Lochgelly, Cardenden, Ballingry and Kinglassie have been saved from the axe by Fife Council.

As part of timetable changes which took effect today (Monday), a number of services were withdrawn by Stagecoach.

However, the council decided that although the routes may not have been commercially viable, they were socially essential and there would be a "significant impact" on communities if the buses didn't run.

As a result they've subsidised a number of services, including the 33, which operates from Kirkcaldy to Dunfermline, via Cardenden, Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Hill of Beath, Crossgates and Queen Margaret Hospital, and the 81, which runs between Dunfermline and Glenrothes, via Kingseat, Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, Ballingry and Kinglassie, to ensure they continue to operate.

Council leader David Ross said: “These are services that the council has agreed to subsidise to cover gaps that need to be filled in the commercial system and routes that have historically been supported.

"The removal of these services would have a significant impact on the local communities, particularly those who rely on public transport.

"In turn, the council stepped in and tendered for alternative, replacement services.

Stagecoach announced changes to their commercial network in late August and while some of the alterations were minor tweaks to timetables, some involved withdrawing services completely

Following discussions with the bus company, some small timetabling changes were reversed and the council stepped in to make sure four "socially necessary" services, including the 33 and 81, continued to operate.

Replacement services began today.

Councillor Ross added: “We are committed to creating a fairer Fife and supporting those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis.

"The services maintained will reassure people in our communities that where there is a social need, the council will take whatever steps it can to support the provision of essential transport, including bus services.”

“By stepping in the main impacts of the changes proposed by commercial service have hopefully been avoided.”

The other two services that have been saved are the 14, between Dunnikier Estate and Kirkcaldy Bus Station, and the 36, between Glenrothes, Falkland, Newburgh and Perth.

Another bus company, Moffat & Williamson, will take on the axed 77 service between Gauldry, Wormit, Newport on Tay and Dundee.

Timetable information with the new bus times have been updated at the affected bus stops and will be available on www.travelinescotland.com.